Since large trucks sit higher off the ground, it is possible for other vehicles to slide underneath them in an accident. This is what is called an underride collision. They are typically not a daily occurrence but are often catastrophic.
Types of Underride Collisions
There are two types of underride truck accidents that can occur:
Side Underride Collisions
A side underride collision happens when a vehicle slides under the side of a large truck. These accidents often happen at night or when the sun is low, affecting visibility, or when a truck driver is crossing or turning onto a street, making a U-turn, or backing up.
Rear Underride Collisions
In a rear underride collision, a vehicle slides under the rear end of a truck or trailer in an accident. These collisions often happen when a car follows a truck too closely when a poorly marked truck is parked on the side of the road, or in low visibility conditions.
Common Causes of Underride Collisions
There are various ways underride accidents can happen, but some of the most common causes are as follows:
A truck driver’s or another motorist’s negligent actions can directly lead to an underride accident. For example, if they are driving while distracted, speeding, driving while fatigued, operating the truck while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or fail to check blind spots.
Lack of or Faulty Underride Guards
Many truck drivers or companies have underride guards installed on semi-trucks to prevent cars from sliding underneath the trailer in an accident. However, if an underride guard is defective, broken, or not installed, a car can end up underneath the side or rear of the trailer.
Braking Too Fast
If a truck driver suddenly slams on the brakes, a car traveling behind it may not have enough time to stop and can slide underneath the rear in a crash.
If a truck driver makes an improper turn, for instance, turning too widely or failing to signal, another vehicle can t-bone them leading to an underride.
Poor Truck Maintenance
A lack of or poor maintenance can contribute to an underride accident, for instance, if there is brake failure, steering equipment malfunction, tire failure, and trailer problems.
The Danger of Underride Collisions
When a vehicle slides under a large truck, it is often severely crushed. As a result, many victims are severely injured or killed in underride collisions. The U.S. Government Accountability Office reports that an average of 219 fatalities from underride crashes involving large trucks were reported annually between 2008 to 2017. Due to the severity of these accidents, a Stop Underrides Act has been proposed that would require the installation of rear, side, and front underride guards on certain trucks and trailers. Underride guards are metal bars that hang from a truck or trailer to create a barrier and stop a vehicle from sliding underneath.
If you or someone you love has been severely injured in an underride collision, speak to an Atlanta Truck Accident Lawyer today. We can help you hold the at-fault party accountable for the compensation you deserve.